Microsoft Claims it Didn’t Pay For “Pornography”


During last week, it was noticed that Googling the word “Pornography” showed you the usual list of relevant search results (thanks Google…) and sponsored links. The news was that those sponsored links included Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.


Sometimes you have it in you to avoid a juicy headline, other times you just have to roll with it. When TechCrunch first broke the news of Microsoft’s minor indiscretion, it looked an awful lot like Microsoft had paid to have its search engine associated with the term “pornography” in particular. However it’s since emerged that that’s not the case.

Microsoft was kind enough to respond to the original post and inform the world and its mother that it hadn’t “purchased the keyword ‘pornography,’ and this term has never been in our AdWords account.” The only problem with that as an explanation is that it’s far less fun than considering Microsoft as the kind of company that would ask another search engine to be recommended for… unseemly searches.

The other problem with the whole situation is that, despite Google’s confirmation that Microsoft didn’t ask for Bing to appear when users searched for ‘pornography,’ we have to wonder just how Bing came to be under the sponsored links.

Clearly there’s been a hefty association built between Bing and pornography after the snafu when Bing first launched allowing users to watch illicit materials behind closed networks in its video search’s preview, but we have to wonder whether or not that kind of traffic is responsible for the situation that arose last week.

Regardless, Google says that the whole case is over and done with now; Bing won’t be appearing in further searches for ‘pornography.’ A quick search, purely for research purposes, indicates this to be the case alright.


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